North America had a busy weekend, with US and Canadian XC MTB Nationals taking place on the same day. In an eery parallel, in both countries, the projected winner of the men’s race took the win, and in both women’s races, there were two heavy favorites who battled in the front of the race. US XC MTB Nationals once again took place at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, though racers were relieved to find that this year’s race, while arguably more technical than last year, wasn’t as hot as 2013.
Within a lap, the women’s race had boiled down to one question: would it be defending champion (and occasional cyclocrosser) Lea Davison who would take the win, or would it be Olympic bronze medalist Georgia Gould? A first lap flat ruined Gould’s chances for a win last year, but she recently told us she was gunning for the stars and stripes. Fifth at ’cross Nationals, Gould stuck to Davison’s wheel and took control of the lead mid-race, but Davison’s last-lap prowess proved too much for Gould, who ended in second.
In the men’s race, former cyclocross National Champion Todd Wells, likely back for redemption after losing the title to Steven Ettinger last year on the same course, took the holeshot and never looked back. By the second lap of the race, he already had a gap, though Ettinger was hot on his heels until an untimely flat set the 2013 champion back and scrambling to regain spots. Wells extended his lead over a surprise second place, Cyclocross Collegiate D1 National Champion Kerry Werner.
Stay tuned for interviews with some of the ’crossers enjoying offseason competition at Bear Creek this weekend!